City police are warning Calgarians about the so-called grandparent scam after a dozen cases have cropped up in recent weeks.

In each case, the victim is contacted by someone posing as a family member — often a grandchild — or friend in need of quick cash.

Police say the scam artist will tell victims they need money after getting into an accident or getting arrested while travelling, and direct the victims to make a payment through a company like Western Union or Money Gram.

The victims will often get a second call from another person claiming to be a lawyer representing the loved one in need, and provide instructions on how the money should be sent.

To avoid detection, the culprits will feign embarrassment and ask that the victim not tell anyone else about the incident and the money request.

Police say there have been a total of 23 cases since June, with approximately $65,000 stolen, including one case in which someone was conned out of nearly $12,000.

That total would have been much higher, but fortunately, many money transfers were cancelled, police said.

To avoid falling victim to this scam, city police urge citizens not to transfer money until they can verify the caller’s story and the caller’s identity.

The calltaker should ask questions that only the family member or friend that the caller is purporting to be would know how to answer. The caller should also be able to provide a callback number.

Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has more information on this scam at www.antifraudcentre.ca.